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Press Releases

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 17, 2020

With the number of COVID-19 cases growing to 24 in Montgomery County, local hospitals are installing tents to triage COVID-19 patients and protect other patients and staff.

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said residents should not be alarmed when they see the tents outside hospitals. At a media briefing this afternoon outside the Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring, Dr. Gayles said the tents are a sign that hospitals are getting prepared.

“The hospitals are taking steps that are a traditional part of preparedness exercise when we have an infectious disease outbreak, at this point a pandemic,” said Dr. Gayles. “So the steps they are taking is to put up tents to be able to triage patients who have symptoms that are concerning for COVID-19. It also creates an opportunity to alleviate exposure to anyone who is in an emergency room or in the hospital setting and allows us to free up capacity in the emergency rooms for other patients.”

Dr. Gayles said these tents are not in place for testing. He stresses that anyone with symptoms should first call their doctor. However, if symptoms are severe, go to the emergency room.

Tents for the hospitals in Montgomery County were supplied and erected by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service with support from the National Guard.

  • Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, Silver Spring
  • Suburban Hospital, Bethesda
  • Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Rockville
  • Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring
  • Holy Cross Hospital, Germantown
  • Medstar Montgomery Medical Center, Olney

Regarding testing, Dr. Gayles said public health officials are working on expanding the availability of COVID-19 testing and are pursuing alternatives that may include drive-thru testing.

“When people see the drive-thru testing, these are tests provided for people who have symptoms concerning COVID-19,” Dr. Gayles said. “Right now testing requires a provider prescription. We are not at the point where we are offering general testing to the public. There are still concerns about quantity and capacity for testing. We’re being very careful that the people who need the tests are getting them.”

For the latest updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow

Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

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Release ID: 20-092
Media Contact: Julie Parker 301-455-9209